CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — As the Republic Services workers strike enters a fourth week, more community leaders are speaking out, frustrated with overflowing trashcans and dumpsters at homes and apartments throughout San Diego County.
Last week, union sanitation workers rejected a contract proposal by Republic Services. Strikers returned to the picket line for what is now day 24 for better wages and safety equipment.
Sunday, Teamsters Local 542 members employed by Republic Services held a meeting after the failed deal.
"Members expressed their desire to continue with the strike until the company provides an offer that will take care of their concerns," the union told 10News.
"We believe that both parties have a responsibility to solve this as quickly as possible because the public is suffering," said Brian Bonner, President of the NAACP San Diego Branch.
Republic Services has brought in fill-in crews to help with the trash buildup, but dumpsters and recycling bins continue to overflow in some areas.
Bonner said the organization is "deeply concerned" about the environmental and health impacts.
He said some people have resorted to hauling their trash to nearby apartment complex dumpsters, only adding to the pileup.
Others are forced to dump their trash at a landfill themselves, which also poses a risk.
"When they get to the landfills, these are areas that also are emitting methane and other hazardous vapors as well," said Bonner.
The organization calls on city and county leaders to implement temporary measures to mitigate impacts.
"You can smell it [trash] when you walk outside your apartment door, and that's disgusting," said Jennifer Cabrera.
For weeks, Cabrera has watched the trash pile up at her Chula Vista apartment.
"With all the extra trash people have around the holidays, it's just gotten out of control... the smell, the rats, it's just bad," said Cabrera.
This weekend, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas tweeted a statement saying the strike is a threat to health and public safety.
Salas said Republic Services promises all trash, recycling, and yard waste will be collected starting Jan. 10 but says the issue won't be resolved until the strike is settled.
"Our trash collectors, many of whom are Chula Vista residents deserve a fair contract," said Salas.
The mayor said they will discuss the trash strike at the city council meeting on Tuesday.
She said she will ask the council to consider the city taking on trash collection or using another company for the service.
If your trash is not collected, contact Salas at firstname.lastname@example.org.